France's Sanofi to help rival Pfizer-BioNTech make vaccines

PTI | Paris | Updated: 27-01-2021 21:37 IST | Created: 27-01-2021 21:28 IST
France's Sanofi to help rival Pfizer-BioNTech make vaccines
Representative Image

In an unusual and potentially groundbreaking decision, French drugmaker Sanofi said Wednesday it will help bottle and package 125 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine developed by its rivals Pfizer and BioNTech, while its own vaccine candidate faces delays.

The announcement came as delays or production problems for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and a vaccine from Britain's AstraZeneca have caused political uproar across the European Union.

The EU's 27-nation vaccination effort has struggled to pick up steam, while more contagious virus variants are spreading fast and COVID-19 deaths are surging anew.

Sanofi's Frankfurt facilities will help with late-stage production of vaccines prepared by Germany-based BioNTech, including bottling and packaging, starting in the summer, according to a Sanofi official. Sanofi did not reveal financial details of the agreement.

According to Thomas Cueni, director of the International Federation of Vaccine Manufacturers, 76% of the world's major vaccine manufacturing capacity is in Europe.

The French government has pressed Sanofi to use its facilities to help make vaccines from its rivals, given the high demand and supply problems.

"We are very conscious that the earlier vaccine doses are available, the more lives can potentially be saved," Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson said in a statement.

The deal was announced amid national soul-searching about the failure of French pharmaceutical heavyweights Sanofi and the Pasteur Institute to produce a COVID-19 vaccine so far, and after Sanofi faced a recent strike by French unions over job cuts.

European Union regulators so far have approved using the vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. The EU regulatory agency is scheduled Friday to consider approval for the vaccine made by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

Sanofi is still pushing ahead with its own COVID-19 vaccine efforts, including a much-awaited candidate developed with British partner GlaxoSmithKline. Sanofi said they will start a new phase-2 trial next month. The two companies said last month that their vaccine won't be ready until late 2021 because the shot's effectiveness in older people needed to be improved.

Producing the huge volume of vaccines needed at short notice has been a challenge for drugmakers around the world, but sharing vaccine production from one company to another is challenging. The multiple types of COVID-19 vaccines being used in different countries require different technologies, raw materials, equipment and expertise.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Addressing conflict-related sexual violence at long last

... ...

Why unequal access to coronavirus vaccines is a threat to us all

... ...

India’s love affair with fossil fuels: the path to sustainable development?

... ...

Videos

Latest News

Kremlin says hopes 'crazy' calls to sanction Russian business people do not become reality

The Kremlin on Friday said it hoped crazy calls to sanction Russian business people would not become a reality and that it was planning ways to best protect Russias interests, its citizens, and businesses.The Kremlin said it was closely fol...

Heritage buildings in Jaipur threatened by encroachment

Over 3,130 encroachments and illegal constructions in the walled city of Jaipur have changed the face of heritage buildings, Rajasthan Urban Development and Housing Minister Shanti Dhariwal said on Friday. Replying to a question raised by B...

Bihar almost fulfils WHO norm of doctor-population ratio: State health minister

Bihar almost fulfils the World Health Organisation WHO-recommended doctor-population ratio as it has 1,19,000 doctors in the state with a population of 12 crore, state Health Minister Mangal Pandey said in the assembly on Friday.Referring t...

Senegal restricts internet as protests escalate

Senegalese authorities have restricted internet access as protests over the detention of an opposition leader intensify, internet monitor NetBlocks said on Friday.Over the past two days, at least one person has been killed in clashes betwee...

Give Feedback